Wednesday, June 8, 2016

More Blessed to Give than Receive


In 1999, I started pottery lessons with Titus Riley in Peppertown. It was a profoundly spiritual experience, and the applications to faith bubbled up in and me and demanded release. After the first class, I returned home with an experience that must be told, sat down at the computer, and wrote my first real story. Over the ensuing weeks, a writer was birthed.

There's nothing better than to have people read what you've written, so I started a little publishing company, fine-tuned my stories, and published The Clay Papers in 2005. Those were the stories that "made me a writer", so they are the most precious of all my stories. At least to me. 

Once we entered the digital age, there was more of a demand for ebooks so, last year, Ryan helped me convert it to the kindle format.

After the young woman gave me her sweet gift of cookies, (The Incredible Kindness that Broke My Heart) I began to think about how it is more blessed to give than to receive. Maybe there would be a blessing in giving my most precious stories away, I thought. So... I decided to do a giveaway. At first, I planned a two-day promotion. When Amazon had technical difficulties and delayed the start, I switched to a five-day promotion. 

{It began 6/3/16 but there was such a glitch that I expected it to run through today. The glitch day apparently counted after all, so it ended yesterday.}

On Saturday, I opened the Amazon listing to copy the link and an unusual thing caught my eye. The book was #1 in free spirituality/devotionals. I didn't believe it. I closed the tab and reopened it. Closed it again and reloaded the page. Closed the browser and reopened it. Every time, the book was listed at #1. 

My precious little stories had jumped thousands of points in the rankings to become best sellers. Literally overnight.

For four days, the stories that are closest to my heart were #1 with only a few hours' drop to #2 or #3. 

It was impossible. 

It was totally a gift from God and confirmed, once again, that it's more blessed to give than to receive.

What I gained from that giveaway was not monetary. (Although I did make $1.40 cents somehow.) Instead, I gained a much deeper understanding of the Sovereignty of God. He touches everything. Controls everything. Can upend everything. He asks permission of no one, for He is in charge. 

The day after the sale ended, I checked the ranking, wondering if the best seller status had lasted through the night. It hadn't. It was back in the paid category and down to #676 for spirituality/devotionals. (It's much further down the list now)

You might think I'd be disappointed, but I'm not. I saw those numbers and realized just how far God jumped my book to get it in that much-desired #1 spot. I'm astounded. What God did was bigger than I realized, and I'm in awe of His kindness.

I saw the drop in ranking and reveled in the power of God to give good gifts to His children. The giveaway and the gift of #1 were such fun that I wondered what I could give away next.

That's what happens when we obey. There's such joy that we want to obey again. 

Today, let's ask God for the next bit of obedience, then let's do it. No matter how unlikely it is. He doesn't surprise with #1 every time, but He always gives good gifts to His children. 

Obedience is worth it. Every single time.

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of lights, 
with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." 
James 1:17 nasb

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: The Rolling Barrel and the Heavenly Help
#moreblessedtogive #disciple #Jesus #linesfromleanna

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